Friday, July 17, 2009

Whirl Goes Sunbathing


There comes a point in every man’s life when he must don a pair of Speedos and leap from beach to beach spawning coronary after coronary. I tried this when I was 22 and it’s the best kind of adrenaline rush, let me tell you.


But now that my six-pack has expanded to incorporate a warehouseload of Lidl Biere Francais stubbies, the closest I get to any kind of speed is watching Cristiano Ronaldo bob lithely up the wing as I turn, catlike, in my armchair to scoop another mouthful of nachos. Likely as not, this year’s bon vacances will feature precisely the same hideous flappy shorts that got me banned from a swimming pool in Houlgate for fear I might suffocate a child.

Holidays are a funny time for writers. How do you let it go, this permanently switched on scrutinising of the world that’s coupled without pause to a desire to get it down, get it down? I can’t imagine plumbers take their toolboxes on holiday and sit at the hotel bar soldering small lengths of copper piping together — unless Butlins has a special five minute slot between the bingo and the useless comedian where they all get up and make with their U-bends. And do policemen go around taking people’s names? Wield their truncheons in the sauna?

People put it down when they’re on holiday, don’t they? This thing they do nine to five?

Last year, I took a few chapters of my WIP (here, auuuuughhhhh) and it didn’t work out. The only additions I made to my myriad notes were several squirts of tomato ketchup and a Huge Bug That Simply Had To Be Destroyed. After that, it was eaten alive by Yahtzee scores.

So this year, my plan is to write nothing, and store up every spectacle like a hamster stuffing its cheeks (facial, not butt, note). I shall play the role of True Holidaymaker, pointing at cathedrals and mountains, partaking of food that doesn’t look like food and maybe straddling the odd donkey. Resplendent in my Obviously English apparel, I shall commune with the locals in that curious blend of languages that only a fool would understand, roast to a crisp on the beach with an international copy of The Guardian draped over my head — and run out of socks by Day Two. And if anything strikes me as profound or amusing, yes, of course I’ll make a note, but rather than acting on it straight away, I’ll leave it to ferment in the oak cask of my brain along with the wash of flotsam and jetsam already there afloat, and see what comes out when I get home and open up the spout in my forehead the gurus mistakenly dub “The Third Eye”.

Released of my writerly burden, who knows, I might bump into Sting...


Or Charles Bronson...


Possibly even Arnie...


One thing is certain: wherever I end up and whoever I encounter, the mere fact of gadding about in a foreign country for ten days guarantees a wholesome upping of the scope for chancing upon innuendo in the wild...


See you in August.

71 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

People put it down when they’re on holiday, don’t they? This thing they do nine to five?

If only. I usually end up hearing people's life stories on holiday, with an "I don't know how I got to telling you this". Either I have a kind face or my counselling training is hard to leave behind.

Now my Dad was a plumber and when he was courting my Mum he used to go around pointing out the qualities of the guttering on all the buildings they walked past. I know they weren't on holiday but I think you can extrapolate from that.

Have a good holiday!

Scarlet-Blue said...

Take lots of pics instead of notes - they'll remind you of what you wanted to write down [in theory!]
Have a great time!
Sx

Bevie said...

You're a magnet, fairy. People are drawn to you.

My daddy was a truck driver and when we went on vacation he made mother drive. (Although I was with him when he successfully parallel parked a pickup truck towing a boat in 30 seconds.)

Enjoy your holiday, Whirl.

McKoala said...

Best photo of you yet. Happy hols to the Whirl clan!

Kiersten said...

Ah, dang. I'll miss you. Still, have a lovely time. My new goal is to someday obtain this obviously English apparel.

stacy said...

Have a great time, Whirl!

Robin S. said...

Have a big time - love the pic. Take more, please, even if you haveta put a bag over your head to feel all warm and fuzzy and witness-protection program!

And, uhhhhh....take a really tiny notepad and a stubby pencil, to keep in your pocket....

P.S. JB came and read as well, and laughed his ass off. Especially with the cock hard sign.

Chris Eldin said...

Have a great time! Love the photo here, and the one below as well!
:-)

Mary said...

One of the best things about the film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” is Billy Murray sporting Speedos. Not forgetting the towelling robe and flip-flops.

Hope you’ve packed a giant sunglass to protect your radiant eye.

Bonnes Vacances! :)

Robin S. said...

Hope you're having a big time!

We miss you.

Robin S. said...

....gotten that nekkid sunburn yet?

Robin S. said...

Damn. I love it that the comments, are, ya know, liberated.

blogless troll said...

No way! Charles Bronson's dead?!

blogless troll said...

And is that Dr. Manhattan in the red shirt?

Robin S. said...

I dunno, BT. That redshirted guy looks like he's wearing a Sun God mask to me...

blogless troll said...

For 2 points:

Here are we, one magical movement from kether to malkuth.

ril said...

Peter, Paul and Mary -- Puff the Magic Dragon, right?

blogless troll said...

So close.

ril said...

My second guess would have been Station to Station by Bowie...

blogless troll said...

Always go with your second guess.

ril said...

Okay, this one's for two points, too, but you'll have to wait 'til morning for the answer 'cause it's late here (and Women's Beach Volleyball is about to start on TV).

Hell's Bells, you're alive.

blogless troll said...

No idea. Cosmic Cars?

Robin S. said...

It's killing me not to to Google these...dammit. OK. I'm gonna be honest, except I'm asking Blondster...

Nah. No dice. She told me to Google, but I'm holding fast to 'no' on that, so, yeah, I don't know.

And ril, women's beach volleyball? You're into net sports, huh?

ril said...

Okay, here it is. I cheated, I guess, by picking an obscure lyric in an obscure song and googling first to make sure it wouldn't be easy to find...

And net sports? Uh, yeah, could be net, could be gross...

ril said...

Here's an easier one:

I like beer and I like cheese, I like the smell of a westerly breeze...

Robin S. said...

Obscure!!? D'ya think? I just checked out the YouTube.

The beer and cheese one sounds like something from Animal House, but I'm guessing I'm wrong...

ril said...

You're gussing right. Uh, wrong.

Robin S. said...

Figured.

ril said...

Ooh, this just in. Apparently taken from the security camera of a travel agent very close to Casa del Whirlio...

ril said...

Possible sighting here.

babs from number 43 said...

Dear Mr. Ochre,

I hope you don't think I'm being presumptuous, but I wanted to let you know that while you were on your holidays, I happened to hear a noise outside. When I looked, noticed lights on at your place and people moving around inside. It sounded like they were having some kind of party. I was worried that you might have left a window open, or left the back door off the latch? I did call the local bobby's, but they said "we're not going over there, there's all kind of weird stuff happens at that place". Anyway, I do hope they didn't cause too much damage. I jsut thought I should bring this to your attention. Hope you're not thinking of me now as some silly little female with big ears and a twitchy nose, lol!

Yours Sincerely,
Babs (No. 43)

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, Whirl's got himself a bad sunburn, then. Poor thing. That's what he gets, I suppose, for using Bounders...

And Babs, me naughty, you shouldn't'a told, me luv.


Babsy's Mummy

Whirl's Garden Gnome said...

Dear Babs from number 43,

Mind your own bloody business. There's nothing stirring over here so--

No, no, NO, not inna tub! I said next to the keg!

--so you just keep your eyes and ears where they belong: in that naughty magazine you keep under the sofa. You're one to talk about "weird stuff happening." Don't you know if you leave the lights on and the window shade open we can--

I said NEXT to the keg!

--we can see every bloody disgusting thing you do in there? Keep that in mind, flopsy.

Bernard

babs from number 43 said...

Bernie, Bernie, Bernie,

I should have known it was you. I told you to stop coming around here. It was a one time thing, and to be honest it wasn't all that good. In fact, Bernie, me old cherub, you're the one we should be calling flopsy.

Now get out of that poor man's place before he gets home.

Babs

ril said...

Uh, yeah, well -- actually, this was the song. So no spork yet. Ah, carry on...

Whirl's Garden Gnome said...

Babsie My Deary,

I hardly think "Oh, Bernie when will you come round again? I neeeeed your enormous gnome sword" qualifies as a request to stop. If you're miffed 'cos you weren't invited, then say so. Better yet, quit yer blubbering and hop on over. I'm about to unsheathe.

Bernie

Crazy Goat Acrobat Squadron said...

That gnome ass shit does nothing for us, dudes.

Whirl's Garden Gnome said...

Your mum had a different opinion.

Babs’s Estranged Husband said...

I knew by keeping tabs on you I’d find grounds for divorce. But honestly, a gnome?! With your back, I’m surprised you’re able to stoop so low. Then again, I had guessed that whole business of suing the bus company was a cooked up cock and bull story so you could sit and complain and not get on with the cleaning. My solicitor will be in touch in due course.

Whirl's Garden Gnome said...

Ack! Stoop so low?! You can stoop pretty low if memory serves. That reminds me. My sword needs a good polishing... Here's what I'll do. The three of us get together later on and I bet I can save your marriage. Meet me behind Whirlio's shed around midnight-ish. And Babsie, bring that steel spiky thing and the bullwhip.

babs from number 43 said...

Oh, Bernie. You know I could never resist your gnome sword, you bastard. Why do you do this to me? Why? WHY? My paws are shaking here; my nose is all a-twitch. You're mean to me, you are. I'm just getting dressed; I'll be right over. That cat's not there is he?

Are we playing Alice in Wonderland again? Who's first down the rabbit-hole?

Babs's Estranged Husband said...

Babsie? The gnome calls you Babsie?! My blood pressure ALONE will blow the roof off that shed.

Barbara, DO NOT touch anything spiky. That gnome will have tetanus after one bite from my hog.

Later, gnomie...

geoff said...

Shit.

mrs. goat acrobat said...

Eric! What are you doing there? Jesus, think of the kids!

babs from number 43 said...

Listen, you good-for-nothing. Don't you be talking about your hog. You always loved that thing more than you loved me. If you hadn't spent so much money on your hog, we might still be together.

I've got a lawyer, you know.

Eric said...

Slaying gnomes, Barbara. You lock the doors and close the curtains. If the kids want to come out and watch, that's okay.

Bernard, Whirl's Garden Gnome said...

Aye. Bring the goats too. We'll make a party of it.

babs from number 43 said...

Gnome slaying?

I'm in.

Bernard said...

I think he meant gnomes laying.

Babs's Estranged Husband said...

Babs, it's all over. I'm moving in with mrs. goat acrobat. Hope she doesn't mind me calling her Barbara.

Eric

Bernard said...

I don't think she can hear your, Eric. She's preoccupied at the moment.

mrs. goat acrobat said...

Don't worry, Eric, love; I've made us a little dinner.

babs from number 43 said...

I'll make you a little dinner, you cheating bastard.

geoff said...

Shit.

Eric said...

Yum, yum... I'll be right there, sweet thing.

Bernard said...

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! You bitch!!! I-

ril said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Undead Bernard said...

Oh Baaaaaaabsie, I-

Nevermind, I've got a sudden urge for goat.

ril said...

Dammit. I think you'll be needing this.

Eric's Hog said...

Zombie gnome? My preferred dessert...

Undead Bernard said...

Bring it on, little piggy.

blogless troll said...

Um. Wow. Looks like Whirl's back.

ril said...

Um.

They did it.

I just got here.

blogless troll said...

Weirdos.

ril said...

Pub's still open. Fancy a pint?

barry bartender said...

Sorry, lads. We don't serve your type here...

Geoff said...

I just heard the car pull up on the drive.

Now you're in trouble, you naughty boys...

McKoala said...

I think you should string them up by those bits.

Robin S. said...

Is the party still on or has Whirl hit cancel....

Robin S. said...

Yeah. He really IS back.

Eric said...

We're in the clear -- but thanks for the warning, Geoff. Whisked mrs. goat acrobat and the kids off on an early flight to Tenerife. Weather good.

Give my best to Undead Bernard.